Asian markets extended gains Thursday, with Japanese shares rising for the third straight session as relief over falling crude-oil prices and a dose of short covering lifted automobile and financial shares.
New Zealand stocks jumped after the central bank cut its benchmark interest rate in a surprise move. Hong Kong stocks struggled to stay in positive territory after a string of higher finishes, with energy issues such as Cnooc declining.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei Stock Average of 225 companies finished up 2.2% at 13603.31, while the broader Topix index added 2.2% to 1332.57.
"People in the shorts appear to have covered their positions as oil prices have fallen sharply and fears about the U.S. financial meltdown have receded. I guess there is a little bit of stability in the near term," said Yoji Takeda , head of equity markets at RBC Investment.
Banks such as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group /zigman2/quotes/203732563/delayed ANZBY -0.19% and HSBC Holdings headed higher after Wall Street stocks advanced overnight. But energy producers such as BHP Billiton /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP -0.19% and Inpex Holdings /zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed JP:1605 +3.12% slipped on crude oil's recent weakness.
In Wellington, the NZX 50 index jumped 2.7% to 3287.23. Shares of ANZ gained 3.1% and Fletcher Building /zigman2/quotes/200215142/delayed NZ:FBU 0.00% added 5.5% after the rate cut.
Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.8% to 5114.10 in Sydney, and the Kospi added 2.2% to 1626.14 in Seoul. India's Sensitive Index fell 1.1% to 14777.01, reversing direction a day after the benchmark index rose nearly 6% after the government won a confidence motion in Parliament.
China's Shanghai Composite rose 2.6% to 2910.29. In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index edged down 0.2% to 23087.72.
Shares of Toyota Motor /zigman2/quotes/200537742/composite TM -0.32% jumped 5.1%, Honda Motor /zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite HMC -0.65% added 3.8% and Nissan Motor /zigman2/quotes/207656007/delayed NSANY -1.61% advanced 1.2% in Tokyo. In Seoul, Hyundai Motor gained 1.4%. Toyota's rise came a day after the Japanese giant said it sold more than 4.8 million cars and trucks in the first half, putting the company ahead of General Motors as the world's largest auto maker by sales. GM sold 4.54 million vehicles in the first half.
Honda and Nissan rose after the Nikkei business daily reported that the companies will work together with Toray Industries /zigman2/quotes/203760457/delayed JP:3402 +0.36% to develop a carbon-fiber material for use in auto bodies. Toray climbed 4.3%.
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